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Altamonte Springs is a city of approximately 42,000 residents, located north of Orlando in Seminole County, Florida. Prostitution has been reported as a problem in the city dating at least to the 1980s, and has generated many complaints to police. Sex trafficking of minors and armed robberies of adults have also been documented in the city, and a serial killer of prostituted women (Gerald Stano) claimed one of his victims in Altamonte Springs.
To curtail commercial sex in the area, the Altamonte Springs Police Department has conducted street-level reverse stings since 1990. The operations have utilized undercover female officers, who pose as prostituted women. The street-level operation in 1990 resulted in the arrest of 11 sex buyers. In July 2010, officers conducted another web-based reverse sting. For the operation, police posted a decoy advertisement to Craigslist. As sex buyers responded to the listing, an undercover female officer arranged to meet them at a local hotel. When the men arrived and attempted to purchase sexual services from the officer, they were arrested by APD police. All of the arrested men’s’ names and ages were released to the local media.
Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred within the county. For example, in November, 2012 a chemistry teacher was fired after he admitted to using his work computer to hire prostituted women and to view ponrography. The Lake Brantley High School teacher admitted to the accusation after his name appeared on a client list for an alleged brothel. Seminole County School District officials did not say exactly how they learned the man had hired a prostituted woman, but they were tipped off and then looked at his work computer and found the evidence leading them to terminate his employment. When district officials learned the teacher was on the prostitution client list, they immediately put him on paid leave and a few days later, removed him from his teaching duties, and later formally terminated his employment. The teacher was later hired to teach at a Florida charter school in Orange County that had not uncovered his prior termination in its background check. When the prior allegations and termination were uncovered in 2019 by students doing Google searches, the teacher was fired from his seventh grade teaching position at Cornerstone Charter Academy in Belle Isle, FL. When the man was applying for the charter school position, administrators discovered he’d failed to disclose “pertinent information” on his employment application, which became the basis for his termination in September, 2019.
- Altamonte Springs Police Department
- City-County Investigation Bureau
- Seminole County Sheriff’s Office
- “Turnpike Trysts Draw Crackdown in Florida”, Youngstown Vindicator, June 13 1988.
- “Altamonte Police Arrest 8 Men in Prostitution Sting”, Orlando Sentinel, August 4 1990.
- https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-xpm-1990-09-13-9009130753-story.html (1990)
- “Education Group Reprimands Helms: The Former St. Cloud High Principal Resigned Last Year After Charges of Soliciting Prostitution”, Orlando Sentinel, September 9 1995.
Sex Buyer Loss of Employment in Response to Allegations
- https://www.clickorlando.com/seminole-teacher-accused-of-using-school-computer-to-meet-prostitutes/ (2012)
- https://www.orlandosentinel.com/cornerstone-charter-teacher-prostitution (2019)
Background on Sex Trafficking and Prostitution in the City:
- http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1990-09-13/prostitution problems plague areas near city hall-altamonte-springs (1990)
- https://www.clickorlando.com/news/police-men-held-prostitutes-at-gunpoint-refused-to-pay-them (2012)
- https://www.wftv.com/news/local/altamonte-springs-man-gets-30-years-in-teenage-sex-trafficking-bust (2017)
- https://www.wftv.com/news/local/police-lgbtq-support-center-in-altamonte-springs-front-for-brothel (2019)
- https://www.wesh.com/article/seminole-county-human-trafficking-desha-turner/34865805# (2020)